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Cape Wrath: the start

Blissfully windy and humid in Glencoe.

I’m fighting jet lag as I write this just south of Fort William, cozy and warm in a tank top and feeling trepidation about tomorrow’s start.

I had three VO gigs the day before I left and only a bit of cleaning up to do before Richard swung me over to MSP. I can’t understand how my throwaway suitcase got filled to 48 pounds. Oh yeah, food for nine days.

Rich waits to ensure I get through security and I text him just as the agent pulls out a special crook to release my monstrous (and monstrously ugly) case from jamming the conveyer belt.

It’s easy going to Dulles, then Frankfurt – essentially a seven hour binge movie binge – because once you’ve flown to New Zealand, Europe is a breeze. The airport is enormous and our entire plane is emptied onto busses which take a tour of the airport’s enormity, including odd tunnels, rows of offices and the land of lost luggage.

We’re emptied onto three flights of stairs and fan out to connecting gates. Mine is a stairwell back down three flights of stairs to another bus which, of course, takes me directly back to the terminal I started from.

It’s a miracle I make it to the gate for Edinburgh, EDI, especially si when my friend from England I meet to hike with tells me it’s the only flight of the day. It’s overcast with spitting rain as we head the teo hours north, but the sun peeks out in blinding blasts revealing bright green hills. The air is humid, or in Scots mochie, and I cheer up thinking maybe I can handle the wet for three straight weeks if it’s not cold too.

backpack art by my friend Ellen
it begins
fancy being buried here
home sweet Glencoe home

Our drive takes us through a long series of roundabouts upon roundabouts, then on a main highway of just two, curvy lanes with barely a shoulder to speak of. At Loch Lomond, I see my first rainbow.

The hills get steeper and craggier, sharp rock broken up by tussocky humps of grass. A gentle tablecloth of mist drapes the tops. A sign welcomes us to the Highlands and immediately the crags become mountains, waterfalls splashing down into a roaring river.

It’s Glencoe where the Scots wiped out an attacking army of Brits, flying down on them from above and just as quickly disappearing back into these wild hills. One good thing came out of it – the first ordinance maps created out of the necessity to at least know from whence their foes might come.

Soon we reach the thin strip of Loch Linnhe and Fort William beneath a towering Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the UK. This is where we’ll start first by ferry and then by foot all the way to the tip top of the country at Cape Wrath, not entirely sure where there’ll be signal so please excuse the late posts.

So tonight, an overheated room to sleep and a proper meal of local mussels and my first single malt scotch whisky.

Slàinte Mhath!

A welcome meal with my hiking buddy Ted at Onich Hotel
A Munro baggers favorite bar at theChachaig Inn
Still dry and happy

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